The Elk River is a very special stream that flows through the City of Fernie. The headwaters are in the Kananaskis and it flows into the Kootenay River. It’s constantly changing in many ways: size, speed, route, temperature, colour and gradient to name a few. This long weekend the family and I took our Hellman canoe, hand made by Bob Hellman in Nelson, and paddled from the Crossing to Hosmer.

I had paddled this route a few times in my white water kayak when the temperature was just above freezing, the colour was brown, the volume was 25,000 cfs, full sized trees were running with us, and the river was forging new channels as the sound of moving river boulders on the river bottom was constant. On this river the danger scale during spring flood is class 3 with extreme tree and temperature hazards and is only recommended for experienced boaters.

Not so this weekend! As you can see in the following shots the river was a family paradise with beaches and interesting bed-rock features and a giant tire to play on. One does require some river skill even with the low summer volume and warm weather.

The Elk River is ours to preserve and enjoy!
(click on shots to view in a larger format)

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